Physics Monkey, Before the universe existed, there was no time, agreed? Time is intrinsically linked to mass, and without mass, or anything to measure for that matter, there is no time. Without substance, time is nonexistent, right? So we need to consider the relationship between mass and time. Mass exists in our universe in varying locations with relative positions. Matter, as we all know, interacts with other matter in many complex ways and energy is converted from one form into another. If we consider the universe to be constructed from discrete nodes whereby this fabric of nodes allows transfer of energy between adjacent nodes, then why shouldn’t the reactions between nodes be transferred from one point to another based on a constant (God, this is hard to explain!) physical, communication process. If these nodes were created by the presence of mass then we maybe could assume a relationship between nodes (yes, aether) and mass. The nodes, being compressible, would be affected by mass and their density affected, hence, the “apparent” time in which events take place would be affected and “time” would be measured to dilate, when in actual fact, it’s the physical processes between nodes which has been altered.